Types of Digital Cameras Explained-How to Spot the Difference

Last Updated on January 23, 2022

Types of Digital Cameras Explained

How to spot the difference


A wise photographer recently remarked that ‘ the best camera is the one that’s with you’. A camera is merely a tool – the better you understand your camera, the better your photos will be.

Plus, there are other aspects of photography you can learn that will improve your craft. You need to understand how to compose a good photo, how light affects your subject, and how to plan for a shoot.

When starting photography buy a camera that is easy to use. Move on to more creative techniques after you have mastered the basics. Choose a camera that has the functions you think you will use and which feels comfortable to hold and operate.

Not to mention post-processing your digital negatives on computer software. Having said that, there are basically five types of camera readily available in today’s market:

Types of digital cameras explained-How to spot the difference

Photographer Kenneth Armstrong talks about the different types of cameras available.

Instant Cameras

Producing photography within seconds is both exciting and useful. An instant camera provides an almost instant image that can be given as a gift.

The film is more expensive than 35mm print film, but there is no additional development cost and waiting time.

Take the Instant Camera on your travel to give as a present to people who help you.

Compact (point-and-shoot) Camera

This is your standard, run-of-the-mill camera; lighter, cheaper and readily available. The disadvantages are the inferior image and build quality, and often the absence of a view-finder.

For instance, relying solely on the LCD screen for focusing and framing becomes tricky in strong sunlight. Basic models have one fixed focus lens and top of the range offer many of the advantages of DSLR.

Compact cameras are used by many professionals as accessible backup cameras.

Bridge Camera

These usually look like a consumer DSLR, with full manual controls, but have a fixed superzoom lens, which offers huge magnification. Examples of Bridge cameras include the Canon Powershot and Fujifilm Finepix.

Avoid models without a high-quality viewfinder or a decent aperture range.

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex)


Wikipedia has a great description of the DSLR: ‘With the reflex design scheme, light travels through the lens, then to a mirror that alternates to send the image to either the viewfinder or the image sensor.

The alternative would be to have a viewfinder with its own lens, hence the term ‘single lens’ for this design.
By using only one lens, the viewfinder presents an image that will not perceptibly differ from what is captured by the camera sensor.’

Basically, this means that what you see, you get. DSLRs have wider aperture control, interchangeable lenses to give a wider angle of view and large sensors for optimum quality. While heavier, build quality is more solid and handling is better.

Types of Digital Cameras Explained-How to Spot the Difference

Mirrorless Cameras

In mirrorless cameras, there’s is no mirror and no optical viewfinder, since there’s no mechanism inside the camera can be smaller and deliver the same image quality.

Best Mirrorless cameras have full-frame sensors, more compact and good for shooting video at 4K.

Fujifilm X-T20_Review_PhotoAndTips.com_Original_Pin #photoandtips-See more > photoandtips.com

The top mirrorlesses are Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless Camera, Nikon Z6 and Z7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras, Fujifilm, Sony… If you’re not a professional and do not need the megapixel count, then carrying a bulky DSLR could prove burdensome.

Read more: Mirrorless Cameras Systems Are Here To Stay. Check it out!

Conversely, compact cameras and bridges cameras are cheaper, more portable and have many useful functions that the pro models don’t, (e.g. a built-in flash). Once you’ve mastered the basics, that’s when upgrading to better equipment will make a significant difference.

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Digital Photography Course for Beginners with DSLR cameras